The book essentially says that atheists don't believe in God because of their sinful rebellion, following Paul's comment in Romans 1:18-19 that unbelievers suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them . Ignoring the fact that in context Paul is talking about polytheists who worship idols (not atheists), Spiegel believes that the passage teaches that atheists really know about God but refuse to acknowledge him because of their sin and rebellion. This is a common ploy used by Christian apologists who want to argue that the only reason one would not believe in God is because he or she doesn't want to submit to him. Or, if a person like me who once believed in the Christian God turns away into unbelief, its because he really just wanted to have free reign to sin.
I am not going to deal with Spiegel's specific argument because I find it insulting and condescending. The truth is that many do not believe, and many who used to believe don't any longer, because they find the claims of Christianity to be intellectually indefensible.
What I want to point out in this post is Spiegel's hypocrisy and his absurdity. On his blog, he has a post entitled, God Judges Animals?. In the post, he says that he and his wife have practiced a “cruelty-free diet” for more than a decade. He says: it’s the least we can do to avoid moral complicity with the factory farming system in our country, which is so horribly inhumane to cows, pigs, and chickens. He continues: We’re hardly radicals, but the little we do is aimed at honoring what we regard as a biblical duty of compassion toward animals. There are numerous Scriptural passages that speak to the moral significance of our treatment of animals..
I wonder if Dr. Spiegel has never read Leviticus or the other OT passages that command animal sacrifices? Was this slaughterhouse religion of his showing compassion to the lambs and goats? It seems that his God took delight in the blood-letting. Moreover, the burning of the fat of the animals was said to be a pleasant aroma to the LORD. I tend to think that Spiegel may be guilty of a little hypocrisy here.
To add absurdity to his hypocrisy, Spiegel says that on the basis of Genesis 9:5, God will judge the animals. Apparently, he believes that animals are moral agents. He writes:
What is consistent in each translation I’ve seen is a sense of something like moral culpability and judgment. Now some folks could read too much into this and erroneously infer that animals are on the same moral plane as humans. Clearly, we can’t run to that extreme given the unique standing of human beings as divine image bearers (cf. Gen. 1:27). Still, it seems noteworthy that God will judge animals in this regard (and that God would make special note of this in Scripture). This appears to be one more biblical reinforcement of the moral significance of animals.
I am not making this up. Dr. Spiegel apparently believes that animals are moral agents who face judgment from their creator. Its amazing how belief in a holy book can make even Ph.D. philosophers state such absurdities. I guess once you sacrifice your intellect to accept a book written by bronze age sheepherders as divinely authoritative, nothing is absurd. And, yet he maintains that unbelievers have no intellectual reasons for rejecting the God of the Bible?